24 Hours to Improving Your CRM

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24-hour-contact-verificationSo you’ve invested in a customer relationship management (CRM) software and implemented its use across your business organization. Like any investment, a CRM deployment takes time to yield a positive return. What’s within your control, however, is the speed by which you get to that sweet ROI point. Here are four effective tips to instantly boost your CRM initiative.

1. CRM Education and Training for Employees

Enabling business organizations to systematize and synchronize customer data, manage targeted customer interactions, and give employees access to customer data through numerous platforms and devices. According to Gartner, “CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives in the coming years.” In addition, “Hot areas for CRM investment include mobility, social media and technologies, Web analytics and e-commerce.”1

However, you won’t reap the benefits of a CRM deployment unless your employees–the very people who will be using the system to interact with your customers and persuade them to buy your product or sign up to your service offering–do not understand how your chosen CRM solution works. Employee training is crucial. A fast way to go about educating your employees is to first identify the tech-savvy ones and to have them comprise the pioneering batch of your CRM trainees. These formally trained employees can then be delegated to teach their colleagues.

2. “Social” CRM

Make sure to integrate your company’s CRM with the different social media platforms. By doing this, your employees can just as easily append a new customer’s email address, as well as automatically uncover social media profiles that are related to that email address. If your sales reps, for example, can view what your customers frequently post on their social media accounts, then they can better position their offers.

3. Lead Follow Up

It is costing your company a lot of money to house and maintain customer data on your CRM. So, ensure that your employees are reminded to follow up on solid leads and to nurture those showing promise. A CRM makes this easy because an employee has access to timely customer information, history, and preferences, as well as current price lists and other product data. Your employees also have quick and easy access to email templates that can be touched up and sent depending on need. So, there’s really no excuse not to follow up regularly, because a CRM makes touching base with leads an effortless task.

In addition, a CRM builds accountability among your employees. Their user logins are reflected on their every customer interaction, enabling them to see which ones still need a slight nudge toward a sale.

4. Standardized and Verified Customer Information

The success of your CRM initiative is largely dependent on the quality of your customer data. You cannot formulate good business decisions, let alone foster meaningful interactions with your customers, if you are working with dirty data replete with customer name misspellings and incorrectly entered addresses. Imagine having your employees send email messages containing salutations that refer to customers in a wrong gender. Also, think about the time and money wasted in sending messages to email addresses that were inadvertently mistyped.

Keep in mind that a CRM is a digital tool–albeit a high-performing one–and you have to wield it properly to get the most out of it. Your CRM is only as good as the customer information it contains and the employees leveraging such information. The latter you can address via appropriate CRM training sessions. As for contact verification, you have data quality services to help you. Because customer data is constantly changing (people move to new addresses, etc.), hiring someone to manually clean, verify, and update your customer information database may not be a cost-effective move. Contact verification can be automated via a suitable data validation API. Data quality services like Service Objects’ name, phone number, address, email address, and IP address validation solutions keep the information in your CRM always current and reliable.

1 Gartner Press Release, Gartner Says CRM Will Be at the Heart of Digital Initiatives for Years to Come, published February 12, 2014, http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2665215